Monday, January 31, 2011

These pictures are near and dear to my heart for an obvious reason. They are pictures of my pride and joy, my baby girl.

But these pictures are even more special for maybe a not so obvious reason. In these pictures Morgan Kate is wearing a dress that my 83 year old grandmother, her great-grandmother, made for her. By hand. Smocked. With love. With perfection.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

We had the best weekend.

We spent the weekend with my parents and it was just so much fun. So relaxing. So restful. It was a weekend good for the mind, body and soul. Much, much needed and appreciated. 

We spent Friday evening grilling steaks and just hanging out at my parent's house. Kyle, Tabitha and Hunter were able to come and MK was in heaven. She loves her cousin Hunter. Saturday we spent the day enjoying the sunshine and riding four-wheelers at the farm. It was so nice! Saturday evening we all gathered for a dinner to honor Owens and Trenholm. I love that they are having parties and that we all get to spend time together. 

And then Sunday. Well, Sunday was just a day in the park. Literally. 

We decided to take full advantage of the sunshine and warmer temperatures. We all had a blast. Especially this little girl.

Each time she moved to a new bar/ring she would count. One, three, six, seven....

So much fun!

MK loved the see-saw. And so did Gator!

This little girl loves, loves, loves her Kaka.

She is quite the daredevil. Afraid of nothing!

And she wasn't the only one to get in on the fun. Her grandaddy had a pretty good time as well.

He set out to prove that he's not just young at heart, but young in general.

He was pretty impressed with his skills.

And I must admit. I was pretty impressed as well.

But that's really nothing new.  I've always been quite impressed with my daddy and all that he can do.

Such a great weekend. Now trying to prepare my mind, body and soul for a week of work. Not so sure how this is all going to work out.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I wish I had some profound words to share. Or some snazzy little post or story to go along with this picture. But I don't. And I don't really think this photo needs anything else. 

Is she not just THE cutest little thing you ever did see? Oh. My. Goodness. And, she's all mine! Well, mine and Travis'. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Last night I prepared this dinner.

I don't typically post pictures of the dinners I cook. Possibly, because I don't cook very many dinners. Ha! But, this week I have been quite the little Betty Crocker and I have been so proud of myself. Monday I prepared the above: meatloaf muffins, broccoli and brown rice. Tonight it was homemade pizzas and I have even already begun cooking tomorrow night's dinner - a crock pot roast with carrots and potatoes. I must admit, I'm not sure what has gotten into me. I just know my hubby loves it and this little girl does too. 

She's so thankful that she even told God about it. 

Side note. I need to be honest. MK really does close her little eyes and fold her tiny fingers as we are saying the blessing most nights. And she did do it Monday night right after I set her plate down. She was truly thankful. However, this photo was staged just minutes after. I just think it is the sweetest thing ever and I wanted to capture it. I don't typically carry my camera to the dinner table, nor do I typically take pictures while we are praying. Just FYI. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

With Owens' upcoming nuptials I'm getting to see more and more of he and Kyle. Which I love. We've always been super close, but as we've gotten older, started jobs, moved to different places and begun new families of our own, our time together hasn't been quite as frequent. Friday night a dinner party was held for Trenholm and Owens and it provided an opportunity for the three of us to spend some time together. 

Friday night I was reminded of just how much I love Owens and Kyle. And how much they mean to me. Don't get me wrong, I don't need a lot of reminding, they are both big parts of my heart. But Friday night I realized the things I love about them most.  

I love Owens' tender heart. He is one of the most caring people I know. He's thoughtful. He's sensitive. He's got an enormous heart. He opens doors for everyone. He smiles at everyone. He's the guy that helps old ladies carry out their groceries. He's the one who stops to make sure the confused guy gets unconfused. He's literally, and I mean literally, the guy who finds a wallet filled with money in the middle of the road and takes it to its proper owner. Literally. He's the one who doesn't like a lot of spotlight or recognition, he would rather recognize someone else. Owens loves with his whole heart and he watches out for and protects those that are near and dear to him. And while he's a big guy, a strong guy, he's not afraid to show and tell those around him just how much they mean to him. 

I love Kyle's honesty. Which is slightly ironic, since he's been known to tell a lie or two. Ha! But I love that Kyle is true to himself and to those he loves. He's not afraid to tell it like it is, but not in a rude way. He's not afraid to admit his mistakes. And he's not afraid to be himself, no matter who's around. He's not a chameleon. He doesn't change just to fit in or seem cool. He is who he is, like it or leave it. He makes me so proud to be his sister. I love that he's so true to himself. And sometimes I wish I were more like him. Sometimes I wish all people were more like him. 

These guys mean the world to me. And while there are still times they aggravate me or make me mad. I love them. And while there are still times they might hurt my feelings a little or disappoint me. I love them. Because there are many, many, many more times where they make me smile and laugh and just beam. And I will always be so proud to be their sister. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We got some pretty terrific news yesterday. And I would have already posted about it, but we were so excited that we didn't know what to do. And then we decided to celebrate by eating out, but MK was tired and needing to go to bed, so we ordered Chinese take-out instead. And then my belly was full and I was exhausted from my first full day back at work in like eleven days so I went to bed too. And now it's today. Or tonight. Either way it's still terrific news and it still gives me goosebumps and tears and all of that good and emotional stuff.

I'll just get right to it.

Yesterday Morgan Kate was discharged from speech. Oh. My. Goodness. And not only was she discharged from speech, but discharged from early intervention as well because she no longer receives ANY special services. None. Zilch. Nada. I don't even know what to do or think or say. Oh my goodness. 

Long story, short. Or at least I'll try to make it that way. MK was last evaluated in speech back in September. At the time she had made tremendous gains, but still had some mild to moderate delays. Mild in the receptive area, moderate in the expressive area. Since that time she has been surrounded by other children, has been involved in programs at the library and the zoo (thanks to our amazing Roddey), has gotten tubes, has had numerous play dates and just naturally grown and matured. In the midst of all of this our speech sessions have been quite sporadic because our regular SLP was out on maternity leave and our "fill-in" SLP couldn't ever get her license switched from one state to another. All of that to say, that just in the last month we decided that it would be better for us and for MK and for our schedules to see an SLP in-home, rather than travel as we were doing before. Our EI set up a re-evaluation with an in-home SLP and we all met yesterday. 

Before the new SLP, whom we really liked, even finished the evaluation she said that she would be shocked if MK qualified. I wasn't sure what to think at first. Once she finished she talked us through it and the results and she was right. MK didn't qualify and based on her performance for the evaluation she was on target in receptive and total language overall for her actual age. She gave us the actual scores and gave us the age equivalencies. She's not big on the age equivalencies, nor am I, but it was interesting to see the growth MK has made since September and to see that her age equivalencies were almost exactly her actual age. Her expressive language was like one or two months behind, but considering where we started and what we have been through, that is so not a big deal to me. The SLP we met with was super and gave me her personal number to call if I had any questions or if future problems arose, although she didn't think we would ever need her again. I so wish we would have met her earlier.

Now, anyone who knows me well or has read this blog long enough, knows that I experienced a mixture of emotions yesterday afternoon. First, just extreme pride. Pride in my baby girl who amazes me every single day. I also experienced pure happiness and excitement that she is doing so well. I mean I see it and I know it in my heart, but it does feel so good to hear other people say it. I experienced relief. The kind of relief that makes you get all teary-eyed in front of your EI and this poor SLP that you just met for the very first time. When you have a twenty-five weeker you're not sure what life is going to hold for you or your child. And when you begin special services, while so grateful and appreciative, you do wonder if this is going to permanent or temporary. I felt like I could breathe again yesterday. The kind of breathing I haven't done in quite some time. I felt giddy just thinking about all the extra time we were going to have together because we wouldn't have meetings or therapy and we wouldn't have to drive anywhere. And I also felt scared and sad. Sad because ending services feels like we are ending relationships with people we've gotten to know and love. And as crazy as it sounds I feel like a time period is ending and that makes me sad. I know that sounds bizarre. Scared because the future and the unknown sometimes scares me. Since February of 2009 or when MK was only six months old we have had these services in place and they have been somewhat of a security blanket for me, a support. And it scares me a little to think of life without that. 

But, I'm not going to focus on or think too much about the sad and the scary. Instead I am going to focus and think about the pride, the happiness, the excitement and the relief I feel when I look at my precious baby girl.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Baby Can Read

Okay, not really. But, she is pretty smart, even if I am her mom.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Schools in our area ended up being closed Monday through Thursday because of the ice and snow. Friday was a student holiday, so only teachers were asked to return. This coming Monday, like the one in less than two days, is a holiday for everyone. Between a workshop Friday a week ago, four snow days, a student holiday and a national holiday it will have been eleven days since I last saw my "children". Whewh. I may have to re-teach a few things.

While I may not have seen my classes in quite some time I was definitely looking forward to the long weekend. I long for any time that involves more snuggling with my hubby and baby girl and of course any chance to sleep in a little. However, our long weekend of relaxation has turned into a weekend of mending the wounded. Okay, so no one is really wounded, but MK is running a fever and just not feeling well. The fever started Friday evening and has continued into today. We went to the pediatrician this morning and both the strep test and the flu test came back negative. Her ears looks good and her lungs sound great. Some big reasons to celebrate there! Her throat does look red and tender, so our pediatrician is sending off for the 48 hour strep test. In the meantime we are using Motrin, tylenol and an antibiotic, mixed in with long naps and bowls of ice cream to make us all feel better. I haven't felt like myself either today. I don't think it's anything serious or contagious. I think it's just a case of "my-baby-is-hurting-so-my-heart-is-hurting". I hate to see her in pain. Breaks my heart.

Well, I'm off to serve up another bowl of ice cream. Or maybe it's mac-n-cheese this time. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today schools were still closed. And guess what? They will be closed again tomorrow.

This is good and bad. Good for many, many, many reasons. Bad for just two.

One, Morgan Kate and I are way off schedule. We are really enjoying hooting with the owls and sleeping in most of the morning. Our sleep and wake clocks were designed exactly alike. Two, I'm desperately missing my "stay-at-home-mom" days. My heart is longing for them.

Today was perfect, other than the fact that Travis had to return to work. This morning we slept in and actually took our time getting ready. MK got up and we both ate breakfast. Well, actually she ate breakfast and I drank coffee. I don't typically eat breakfast. But don't you dare worry. I make up for it the rest of the day. We played and read books and then I decided to shower. We played some more and then I put on my make-up. After cutting play dough into tiny, tiny little pieces all over my bedroom floor we headed out to meet Kristen and Asher for lunch. The roads may or may not have been as "dethawed" as I thought they would be. But nonetheless, we made it and had a great time. After our lunch date, we headed back home for nap time. Well, actually Morgan Kate napped and I cleaned out our closet. HUGE job. And then I even had enough energy to tackle our bathroom and begin dinner. 

I liked so much about our day. I liked sleeping in and not being up hours before the sun rose. I liked taking my time. It was a leisure day and I liked that. I liked playing and reading with my baby girl. I liked meeting good friends for lunch. I liked getting things done around the house. I liked having enough energy to get more than one thing done. I liked playing with play dough. I liked seeing my puppies snuggled up on the rug. I liked holding and kissing my girl whenever I felt like it. I liked snacking on brownies. I liked being home.

It was a great day. And I'm holding tightly to every minute of our "snow days". I know they will be gone in a blink of the eye. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday morning we woke up to find this.

It was such a beautiful sight. And a rare sight.

Living in the south you don't see much of the white stuff. It snows maybe once a year, if that. This past weekend we knew there was a chance of a "wintery mix". And late Sunday afternoon before the first flake ever fell, schools and businesses began to close. 

Monday morning brought snow and lots of it. We probably got six or seven inches here at our house. We spent the day alternating between playing outdoors and sitting inside by the fire to warm up. 

Morgan Kate wasn't so sure about the snow at first. I actually think she just wasn't completely awake. She's a slow mover in the mornings. So, moving her directly from her crib to outdoors was probably a bit much. 

 By the afternoon all of that changed. She fell in love.

Once she got the hang of how to walk in the snow, she was on her way.

Even the puppies joined in on the fun.

Not only did she and I get a day at home, but Travis did, too. I always love having everyone at home. Travis built a big fire in our pit outside and he and I spent the late afternoon sitting outdoors while MK napped. I felt like we were at some fancy resort in the mountains.

Neighbors ventured over for the fun too. We went "snowboarding" in the neighborhood behind us and took trips around the "hood" on the four wheeler.

Late Monday afternoon the soft, powdery snow turned into sleet and ice. Today our roads and yards are still frozen solid. Cars haven't moved. People haven't moved. Tomorrow is Wednesday and schools and businesses are still closed. Like I said, in the South we just aren't used to this "wintery stuff". We love to play in it, but we don't know how to work in it. Ha!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monumental weekend around these parts. Or at least for us.

Morgan Kate used the potty for the very first time.

We were so excited. She was so excited. And what makes it even better, Kaky and Gator were here to witness it as well. MK had just gotten up from her afternoon nap and she was showing Kaky where her new potty was. She decided to sit and "try". The trying turned into success. We all made a huge deal about it - after all, it was a huge deal. MK jumped up from the potty and ran to our living area to share her good news with Travis and Gator, still completely naked. What, you don't take off all of your clothes to use the potty? Ha! Well, Morgan Kate does.

Morgan Kate got her potty for Christmas. We, meaning she, Travis and myself, (mostly me), are in no way ready to begin the actual potty training process, but we thought we would go ahead and introduce the potty to her. When we remind her that the potty is in her bathroom she will request to use it, but other than that, she doesn't really think of it. And we're perfectly okay with that. We're just thrilled that she actually wants to use it and that she did use it Saturday afternoon. So thrilled that I even got emotional and all teary-eyed. She's just growing up so fast!

We're not going to really push the whole potty training thing until this summer, when I have a little more free time. Ultimately, it's not about when I'm ready or Travis is ready or whoever else. It's about when Morgan Kate is ready. She will do everything in her own time. Right now, we are just going to celebrate moments like the one we had Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Often times, when I have a few minutes I like to browse through old pictures and read through old blog posts. Tonight was one of those nights where I had some time and I did just that. I found this picture from January of 2009 and compared it with a picture from now, January 2011. Quite the comparison, huh? 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Morgan Kate is saying and doing so many new things and I just don't want to forget any of it. So here goes, a little more randomness....

Last week we took Lola to get her haircut. She was in desperate need. Since the moment Lola walked back through the door, Morgan Kate has talked about Lola's "hay cut". I ask MK questions just so I can hear her say "hay cut". It is so darn cute. MK will start talking about Lola's "hay cut" and then she will say "I hay cut, Momma" - meaning she wants her haircut. I literally laugh out loud. As I am sure you have all noticed, MK is not in need of a hair cut and may not be until she is a grown woman. 

Santa brought Morgan Kate a kitchen. He must have let others know ahead of time about his gift because MK got lots of play food, pot and pans. My parents got her this cute set of wooden food that velcro together. It comes with this wooden knife and you are supposed to slice the bread, tomato, watermelon, etc. Morgan Kate LOVES cutting and slicing her food. 

MK has also become quite the helper. She wants to help with everything. She's been helping move clothes from the washer to the dryer for quite some time. Now she wants to help move her highchair, help sweep, help wipe up spills, help clean up and help flush the toilet. She loves to help and I love that she loves it!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bits of Randomness...

Operation "No More Night Bottle" was a huge failure. And I must say it's all my fault. My Christmas break was supposed to be the time where we worked diligently to wean Morgan Kate from her night bottle. Instead, it turned into two weeks of fun, play, laughter, late bedtimes and sleeping in. After night one we didn't think twice about Operation "No More Night Bottle". It went straight out the window. We are currently working on Operation "Get MK Back Onto a Schedule". Ha! Seriously, Travis and I were both off for the past two weeks and we were living on vacation time. No clocks, no deadlines, no places to be. It was the life. But, we are paying for it now. After two weeks of no real bedtime, MK doesn't quite understand why she must go to bed at 8pm now. 

Morgan Kate is just changing so much everyday and her personality is showing through more and more. Don't get me wrong, she can throw fits with the best of them and she can whine like no other, but she is just THE sweetest thing 99.9% of the time. Really, she is. She gives THE biggest hugs and says, "Uh, uh, uh" while giving them - like she's squeezing us really hard. Her eyes just light up when Travis or I walk into a room and she will run to us. Melts my heart every single time. When I went to pick her up today, she ran to the door saying, "Momma, Momma" and just gave me the sweetest hug. If we give her extra fruit at dinner or M&Ms as a treat, she will look up and with the sweetest smile she will say, "Thay u, Momma" - like it's the best thing we have ever done.

Speaking of personality, she is learning how to play her cards as well. Over Christmas Travis and I would say, "Morgan Kate, are you Momma's girl or Daddy's girl?". She would look at me and say, "Daddy's gul" and then just laugh. When Travis would ask her, she would say "Momma's gul" and then laugh just as hard. A few days ago we were at my parents and I said, "MK, are you Kaky's girl, Gator's girl, Daddy's girl or Momma's girl?" She said, "Gaka's gul and Kaka's gul" - then looked at me with these big eyes and just hugged my neck and laughed. She so knows what she's doing...

We haven't had speech in almost a month now. Prior to today we were dealing with changes in therapists, changes in schedules and so forth. However, as of today, we are switching practices completely. Instead of taking her somewhere for speech, we will be served in-home. I will miss the girls from our "old place", but I will appreciate the flexibility in our schedule and I will be thankful for not having to drive across town and getting stuck in 5 o'clock "Malfunction Junction" traffic.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas in Pictures

Daddy and Morgan Kate on Christmas Eve
Morgan Kate was recovering from "the bug"

Morgan Kate got a pretend puppy from Santa and this really cute doggie bed -
one problem, Lola, our real puppy, has taken over

Every good chef needs an apron and hat

Uncle O and Uncle Kyle helping while Daddy was in bed with the stomach bug

Morgan Kate's very first purse from Keh-key (Kelly) and Tahtee (Tommy)

Morgan Kate applying her lip gloss - such a girl!

Painting MK's toenails on Christmas night

Aunt Deborah and sweet Hunter

Brent trying to break or bite into the surprise gift

Tommy using his fists to get into the gift

Even Mama Jean tried getting into the surprise gift

Morgan Kate and her Keh-key